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Post date: November 2 2005

Unregistered Hearing Aid Dispenser Shut Down

Attorney General Spitzer today announced that his office has obtained a court order shutting down an unregistered Otsego County hearing aid dispenser.

Expert Ear Inc. and Hearing Aids Wholesale, both operated by Kathleen E. Marcie of Oneonta, were served with an order and judgment permanently banning the companies and Marcie from the sale and service of hearing aids and warranties, and compelling her to provide a full accounting for all hearing aids and warranties sold to consumers since August 2003.

In addition, the order requires Marcie to pay full restitution to all consumers who purchased hearing aids and warranties and to pay civil penalties and court costs.

"Laws regulating hearing aid dispensers were enacted to ensure competent, honest and accountable service by dispensers of hearing aids," Spitzer said. "Those who violate these laws put the health and welfare of New Yorkers with hearing impairments at risk and will be prosecuted."

New York State law requires that businesses which dispense hearing aids must be registered with the State, and that a registered hearing aid dispenser be employed at each location of any business dispensing hearing aids.

Spitzer’s investigation revealed that Marcie successfully registered her hearing aid dispenser business, Expert Ear Inc., with the New York State Department of State (DOS) by falsely claiming that Gary Taroli, a registered hearing aid dispenser, worked for her at the business. The registration was revoked by DOS after it was determined that Mr. Taroli did not work at the business.

This was not the only time Marcie filed fraudulent documents with DOS. In September of 2001, Marcie submitted to DOS an application for registration as a hearing aid dispenser which falsely stated she had completed the state mandated training and education requirements. The registration was never granted. Nevertheless, Marcie continued to operate her businesses, perform hearing tests and dispense hearing aids.

Individuals who have purchased a hearing aid or warranty from Marcie, Expert Ear or Hearing Aids Wholesale may be eligible to receive full restitution. Consumers are encouraged to contact the Attorney General’s consumer help line at (800) 771-7755 for more information.

This case is being handled by Assistant Attorney General Michael Danaher of the Binghamton Regional Office.